Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged) | Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.

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Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged)
175 Ratings
Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged)Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged)

Brewed by:
Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
New York, United States

Style: American Porter

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 6.40%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
Enhanced with Brettanomyces

Added by Billolick on 03-18-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 175 |  Reviews: 133
Photo of berkey
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle split with friends on 06/30/10. My portion poured into a Duvel tulip.

Affixed with a sticker warning of high carbonation instructing to refrigerate for at least 24 hours but exploded in my friends kitchen even when I followed that advice. I detect what seems like a sharp blast of pedio acidity as I clean up but we'll get back to that shortly.

Forms a medium sized light brown head w loose bubbles atop a porter black body. Some lacing briefly attempts to cling to the sides of the glass but doesn't stick for long.

Vinous, sour, acidic, and slightly sweet, this smells like a wild ale with some underlying chocolate notes. Surprised they don't label this as a sour ale, it's more tart than some beers categorized as 'wild'. I can imagine someone picking this up who wasn't used to sours being more than a little put off.

The chocolate notes of the base beer still shine but some of the roasted character is lost in the tartness and wine-like acidity. Interesting that this reminds me slightly of some unintentionally 'soured' porters and stouts I've tried (think Portsmouth) though it works better in this case. Still, between the flavor and the bottle-bomb I experienced on opening I can't be 100% that this tastes as intended and didn't pick up an accidental infection of some kind.

The surprisingly strong influence of the wine barrel has this Porter leaning almost towards a slightly tart Port. Very interesting but can't really say I prefer this to the regular Captain Lawrence Porter.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip glass.

Big thanks to wedgie9 for sharing this bottle!

Batch 4. Finally getting the chance to try some of this series. Here goes: It pours a straight obsidian topped by over two fingers of rich tan foam. The nose comprises cinnamon, light roasted malts, dark chocolate, brown sugar, red apple skin, light oak, nutmeg, and light molasses. Not much of the wine barrel in there, but it does smell pretty damn good. The taste deviates a bit, holding notes of red wine, dark vinegar (can't tell which one, as my experience with vinegars is pretty limited...I just know it's brown...), sour black cherry, dark chocolate, very light roasted malts in the back, oak, and some smoke stuffed way in the background. The body is a lazy medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a kinda sticky finish. Overall, a decidedly interesting beer. It's got some smoked porter character, but it's shoved to the rear in favor of some sour, vinous notes. Combined, it's like nothing I've had before (that hasn't been infected, that is). I can't at all say it's bad, but it's not the best barrel-aged smoked porter I've ever had, in terms of strict style.

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Photo of craytonic
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Forced to drink this one early because the top popped off; bit of a disappointment. Odd mold looking clusters in the foam - yum.

Appearance: Typical dark porter, big head, nice lacing.

Smell: Coffee, chocolate, oak, bit of red wine in the back. Bit of funky brett as well, not much but more than I expected. Might actually save the beer from mediocrity.

Taste: similar to the aroma - coffee, chocolate, oak, bit of red wine. Also some sort of jam, along with leather and tobacco. My guess is merlot barrels.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body, decent carbonation.

Drinkability: decent, seemed to draw this one out due to lack of interest.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Done at a tasting with jrallen34. Cheers.

A - A dark brown/mahogany color with a nicce tan head that dissipated to a full cap and left some lacing on the sides.

S - Oddly, there is a bit of pimento olive smell on this. Sweet candy and a nice, rich oak-wine smell with a solid porter back. There's nothing subtle about the wine influence but it is not gimicky or overpowering.

T - Some sweeet grape mixed in with a traditional porter feel. You get some nice wood influcence and a little bit of tart on the end. If someone can tell me what that pimento ollive taste is, I would greatly appreciate it, but I do get a little of that, although it's not bad. Something of a tart finish on the end.

M - Slightly over carbonated, makes it seem less full bodied than it really is. Not bad, but kind of confusing for the beer.

D - Not bad, it's only 6.4% but can get it down easily enough. Some pretty strong tastes, but I don't think this is a discouragement. Would drink this again.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Matt for sharing this one.

A: The pour is a dark brown color with a fairly sizable khaki colored head.

S: A pretty nice aroma here, better than I was expecting. The smoked aspect of the porter certainly comes through nicely but is not overpowering. The wine barrel gives the beer a mild fruitiness and some subtle oak and tart notes.

T: I don't really pick up too much of the wine or oak flavor. The porter is the main attraction here and the smoke is fairly dominant. But, still a nice flavor to the beer.

M: Medium bodied with an excessive level of carbonation. The carbonation sort of takes away from the beer, to be honest.

D: A nice beer, and I liked the flavors going on here, but the carbonation really detracts from the experience. Hopefully, Captain Lawrence can get this under control.

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Photo of mothman
3.88/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Batch 4 thanks to fbm115!

Poured in a pint glass.

Pours 1 finger of creamy tan head. Amazing retention leaving some thick lacing down the glass. Color is a deep dark brown.

Aroma: Sour wine-like notes from the barrels show right away. Has some oak and grape flavors. Chocolate and roasted malts. A very unique porter.

Taste: The taste is almost a bit sour, but still roasted. Grape and oak flavors. It is like beer meets a wine. A lot of wine flavors, but has so much roasted notes with some chocolate. It is very unique.

Mouthfeel: Fizzy and smooth. A medium body with a decent amount of carbonation. Ends a bit sour, but surprisingly clean.

Overall, this is a hit or miss beer imo. If you are not expecting the wine flavors, you probably will think this beer is off. It is odd, but for what it is, I think it is fairly good and somewhat drinkable.

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Photo of Gmann
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a near black color with a huge light brown head that dissipated into a nice cap. I waited 2 weeks before opening this bottle but it still gushed a bit; didn't lose too much though. The aroma is tart and funky, smells like oak wine barrels and very light smoke. The taste starts off tart, with wine characteristics and sour cherries. Towards the end there are hints of roasted malt and slight smoke. I was expecting more of a smokey flavor. The feel is well bodied with fizzy carbonation; finishes dry and tart. A very nice porter that really takes on the characteristics of the wine barrels. A bit too much for my liking. I was expecting more of a malt presence and definitely more of a smokey flavor. Still recommended.

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Photo of jwc215
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This was a gusher - went all over - Fortunately most stayed in the bottle, and settled down pretty quickly.

Pours dark brown with a thin (despite the gushing - though I did wait a bit before pouring) tan head. Dots of lacing stick.

The smell is of anise, chocolate, a hint of coffee and wood/oak. Vinuous notes of red wine are in the back and mix in well.

The taste is of red wine (that becomes stronger as it progresses) and some chocolate. There is a hint of vanilla with an oaky dryness. Not as "smoked" as I thought it would/could be. A bit tannic, in a red wine way. Finishes dry.

Mild to medium carbonation, medium to full body.

Nice use of oak (though it could be a bit "smokier") and an interesting selection of wine - which shows. Unique, interesting, though it confirms my feeling that chocolate flavors go better with a porter (or a stout) than with red wine. Although I enjoyed it, it's a one-timer for me most likely. Personally, I prefered the bourbon-barrel version.

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Photo of portia99
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle, poured into a Bruery tulip.

A - Really dark brown, almost black in color - totally opaque. Huge 3 fingers of mocha brown head on top. Somewhat loose and a little bit soda like...leaves a cluster of bubbles in the middle of the glass and a thick collar...nice lacing too.

S - Smells a little bit on the sour side, but mostly resembles a cabernet...some dark sour cherries. Interesting.

T - Good porter base...nice and roasty, just enough smokiness-but it is subtle. Good touches from the wine barrels - some tannins, fruityness, some sour cherries. Nice.

M - A fit foamy feeling. Full bodied. Carbonation is on the high side - giving the foaminess, but it isn't especially prickly - more on the creamy side. Good.

D - I think sharing this bottle is the right idea. Tastes pretty good, but a whole bottle might be a bit much for me. I'm liking this a lot, but feeling a bit heavy. Feels stronger and boozier than the 6.4% stated. Not like it is 12% or such, but feels more like an 8%'er...

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Photo of augustgarage
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to ShogoKawada for sharing the Captain Lawrence love. Batch 4. Poured from a 750mL bottle into my Portsmouth tulip.

Toffee-tinged seal brown body, opaque but cut through with surging lines of microbubbles feeding the rocky yet dense three fingers of fawn foam. Heavy sticky lacing clings like scum on the surface of consommé.

Heavily vinuous estery aromatics suggest substantial oxidation at first whiff. Grape skins and light roast malt show up faintly in the background.

Sour and smokey palate entry with hints of ancient balsamic vinegar, pomegranate, pipe tobacco, cherry pits, and Irish Coffee. Mild citrus and earth from hops contribute a vague bitterness leading to a tart tannic finish. Thoroughly unique, though the barrel notes overwhelm the roast malt base (which come out a bit more as the ale warms). On flavor alone, in some ways, this reminds me more of a sangria than a beer!

Effervescent (though not explosively carbonated as the warning label suggested!), creamy, lightly astringent, and not quite medium-bodied.

Surprisingly drinkable, though if you aren't keen on sours, you should know this this has about as much in common with an Oud Bruin than an American Porter...

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Photo of NittanyBeerFan
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from batch 4, purchased at the Cuvee de Castleton release on July 24. Consumed on July 26, after 40 hours of refrigeration, per the warning label's directions. The bottle opened with an uninspiring and unimpressive hiss. Then the foam started creeping upward. Luckily, I was able to catch it all.

Poured into my snifter, the pour produces a nice 1-inch thick creamy white head that sits nicely atop a completely opaque black body. Sipping slowly, the foam leaves behind a great wall of lace...very thick, and not delicate at all.

The aroma is incredibly complex and nothing I have ever smelled before. There is a combination of smoke, vinous notes, and sour pediomyces. I am also able to make out undertones of caramel/toffee. The potency of the wine barrel contribution is astounding. The red grape aromas are really well done.

On the pallet, the beer continues to improve. I am having a hard time rating this because for a porter, it falls extremely short ("infection" subdues the smokey roast), but for a wild, I think it is pretty impressive. Rating strictly to style is really difficult for this. Even so, that's what my numbers say. I will continue, though... The smoke comes through pretty nicely, but not as well as it does in the nose, as the sourness from the wild yeasts and bacteria stomp it out and begin to add their own flavors. Those sour notes meld beautifully with the vinous characters from the wine barrels. The finish is roasty, caramel-filled, and a little bit smokey.

Despite the high level of carbonation from the pour, the mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, especially in the finish. The sourness isn't overbearing at this point, though I imagine it will eventually get there. It does make the mouth pucker a bit, but it is very enjoyable. This is such an amazing beer, I could drink this all night. The manageable alcohol level makes it a multiple-serving beer.

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Photo of djmichaelk
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, courtesy of msulinski (thank you!), into a snifter. Batch 4.

A - Pours a ruby-tinged dark auburn, with a huge three finger head that takes a while to fade. Plenty of lacy rings on the glass as it goes down.

S - Vine, grapes, and barrel are upfront. Some smoke, leather, chocolate, and hints of burnt sugar are more in the background.

T - The vinous quality of the grapes is pretty strong. More chocolate than I expected, and sweeter too. The smoke doesn't quite make itself known until it warms, and then it pretty much dominates the finish, in a good way. Hard to say that it's from a pinot barrel; more like an indistinct wine barrel.

M - Silky, almost to the point of feeling oily. It's pretty light-bodied, which doesn't quite jive with my expectations of the style.

O - This is a solid offering -- my girlfriend agreed with me that it's an unusual taste but very nice. I've heard that the new imperial version isn't as good, which is a shame. If this was more readily available, I'd probably grab a couple more. As it is, I'd just like to find another bottle of this for a special occasion down the road.

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Photo of akorsak
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to witbier for this bottle from Batch 4. Sure as the label warned, this one was a gusher.

A: The porter is a full syrupy brown color, concentrated to the point of blackness. The carbonation lends over four fingers of off-white head that are slow to recede.

S: The nose is a conflicting mixture of smoked, roasted malts and tannic red wine. And you know what? There's just enough of a funky sour aroma running through the ale. Very interesting.

T: The red wine barrel leaves the porter bone dry. More funk follows, further drying the taste out. The porter, a bold chewy ale on its own, has disappeared behind the barrel. The red wine presence is bold, a strong flavor that meshes well. The contrast of the sourness of the chocolate that emerges late in each sip is the lynchpin. It's how the differing flavors don't get along that makes the porter enjoyable. A tannic finish is a good way to go.

M: The mouthfeel stresses the dryness of the wine barrel with a small dose of funk. Porter flavors are slow to emerge, giving the barrel the primetime spotlight.

D: Under 7%, incredibly complex and a touch funky. What more do you need? The wine barrel is not my preferred vessel but the tartness is very enjoyable.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to gkatsoris for this one.

Sadly, this bottle was a gusher and I lost more than half the bottle on the floor. The dogs, however, couldn't be happier.

Poured from the bottle a deep black with a huge rich and creamy tan head. Decent lacing all around.

Aroma of red wine, sweet caramel malts, soap detergent, and chocolate.

The red wine coming from the barrels really shines thru in this one. More-traditional porter notes follow. Chocolate, roasted malts, nuts, and coffee are present.

Mouthfeel is on the thinner side and sharply carbonated.

The sourness from the wine was distracting at first, but then the beer started to grow on me. Very drinkable and a must try.

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Photo of mcallister
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Serious gusher upon opening. Lost at least half the bottle. An average looking porter showing yeasty sidiment at the bottom of the glass and an overly carbonated mocha head that leaves much lacing in its path.

Dark bread notes with sour funky tones, hints of smoke and meat, raspberry puree, brett, and some woodsy notes and hints of white chocolate.

Very very carbonated. This beer needs much time in the bottle to settle down. However it does drink quite nicely. Funky berry notes, with some infection, smokey malts, chocolate, bark, earth, wood, hints of vanilla, and some other dark fruits. The carbonation just really hurts this beer. Will definitely re-review this when I open my other bottle in a couple of years.

Batch 2 by the way. Should probably try my batch 1 soon I suppose.

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Photo of drabmuh
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

At a recently tasting, all four variants of this beer were tasted side by side. I was personally surprised at the consistency of the results.

Beer is brown to black with a brown head that falls away and doesn't leave much lacing on the glass. This beer exploded with pent up carbonation, shooting out of the neck of the bottle. Our lack of preparedness was punished with the loss of more than half of the bottle to the counter top and the floor. Probably the most ridiculously over carbonated beer I have ever seen.

Beer has a woody / sweet aroma to the whole thing.

This beer had the longest lasting head of the bunch (shocking) and had a slight sour flavor to it with some woody roasty late flavor. Medium body and good drinkability. Pretty good.

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Photo of barleywinebrewer
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

So, I didn't think I'd get a bottle of this and surprise - i got a bottle via trade VFerg. Sufficiently warned that this was a gusher I chilled it quite cold, set up 2 very large glasses and proceeded to pop the cap. A loud pop, a large whisp of smoke a delay and then all hell broke loose. this thing erupted and thankfully I was prepared. I lost a touch of the brew to the sink and counter but managed to get the rest in my glasses. So, beer safely in glass, it's on to the review:

A - almost all foam which slowly gave way to a cloudy brown beer with a sticky brown head.

S - porter meets red wine, rough houses in a barrel and comes back with some brett inspired bruises.

t - wow, this is nice. robust porter notes balanced with and towards a red wine note with a hint of oak and funky brett in the background.

M - bit of a fall here as even with the beer subsiding, this is too over carbonated. smooth, light bodied but tingly distracting for almost the entire rest of the bottle.

d - I'm left thinking of what this could be. It drank decent enough but the over carbonation definitely pulls the score way down IMO.

I applaud the brewers for whatever inspired them to take this leap with this style of beer. unfortunately this beer is hindered by the overcarbonation. I would come back and try this for version 3 but I can't recommend version 2 as I think it will only get more carbonated going forward.

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Photo of kasper
3.99/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle acquired direct from the brewery in early April. (I've also got some for trade.)

DO BE CAREFUL opening this one. Reports are true... CL has built a mini celebration geyser into each bottle. I opened mine over a large bowl and had two pint glasses ready. Therefore I only lost a few drops.

A: Pours a dark opaque brown with a huge frothy and foamy tan colored head that hangs around a couple of minutes before settling.

S: Oh my god, does this beer have one hell of a nose. Strong smell of merlot, sour cherries, dark fruits and what not. Not really picking up much of the smokiness, but there is some subtle oak. You have to smell this brew, seriously. The nose is almost worth it if even if you're not a porter guy.

T: This thing tastes just like the nose, strong taste of sour cherries with lingering dry wine, oaky finish. Very unique. Never tasted anything like this. I cannot easily describe it.

M: Really bubbly from carbonation -- like setlzer. I'd say its medium body at best. Bubbles flood the mouth, tingling on the tonque even after you swallow. Loads of carbonation here.

D: You know, I'm really not a porter guy at all and this beer definitely doesn't stand as an exception to my liking. But as someone who can appreciate the craft, I have to say this is one of the most unique beers I've ever tasted.

I plan to age one of these and see how it tastes in about six months.

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Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mikesgroove for hookin a brotha up with one of these.

Batch 2

Pours...out of the bottle at 100 mph in my sink. Many of these bottles are BIGTIME GUSHERS. I was lucky enough to be warned by many good BAs so it didn't cover my living room floor. So after half the bottle was lost in my sink, it pours a dark nearly impenetrable black with ruby hues and a large tan head that retains well and leaves good lacing.

Nose is interesting to say the least. The wine barrel is very present, but it smells as though there may be some tartness to the base beer as well. There is minimal smoke in the nose. some dark malt.

Hmmm. Taste is quite interesting here. The wine is defenitely present. Taste starts off with mellow oaky flavors. slight vanilla mixed in with the roasted malt. The wine flavor then begins to grab ahold of you. Throughout the middle wine is a dominant flavor in the taste. There is a solid tartness in the middle, but I do not think this is solely from the barrels. A tiny bit of chocolate here. Smoke peaks its head out just before the finish but is not as dominant as I would like. The finish is quite dry and vinous with some smoke trying to hang on but getting trumped by dry tartness. Aftertaste has some smoke and a bit of chocolate, and of course, wine.

The mouthfeel is actually only slightly overcarbonated. Viscosity is about where it should be, a little bit too dry for the style though, IMO.

Drinkability is pretty good, but the vinousness makes this one a slower sipper. Don't know what the abv is, but im guessing it is decently well hidden. i would guess it is in the 7-8% neighborhood.

Overall, this is a very interesting beer. I think the barrels play a role that is just a bit too prominent here, as the vinousness and tartness combine to be a very dominant flavor. The smoke is sort of in the background, would really like a bit more smokiness in this one, a bit more smoked porter and a bit less wine barrel. Although, certainly an interesting beer, and a great educator for those who want to learn to recognize what wine barrel aging does to a beer, and be able to pick it out when it is more sublte (like it should be, haha) Certainly an interesting brew, and a good one. Just a reminder I have a batch 2 bottle here and THEY GUSH ALOT! So open it over the sink.

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Photo of Photekut
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of Gonzoillini
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of jmarsh123
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of nmann08
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of WillieThreebiers
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Smoke From The Oak (Wine Barrel Aged) from Captain Lawrence Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 175 ratings